Westgate Street
From Westgate, the mouth of Berkeley Street opposite College Street (which leads to the cathedral) has a printer's trade sign painted on the once plain brick wall.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester 12013 images
There is something odd about this sign. Firstly, the brickwork repair in different colour at the top left cover most of the first word, however 'letterpress' as one word is the conventional term for the printing process. The spacing here suggests that the words beneath may have been 'letter' and 'press'. Secondly, 'Copperplate' is missing its final 'e', surely? Sitting within the the long cartouche we seems to have 'Letter Press and Copperplat'. The lower word is cut through by three windows, presumably added to the building when it was converted from industrial to residential use.
A detail from the other direction shows that the 'E' is mainly still there, although the cream background cartouch appears to have been truncated:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester 3

Also in Westgate is this lettering and crest of Britannia high up:

BUIL[T] 1900'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester 2
The White Lamp is shown at 45 Westgate Street in 1906 Kelly's Directory. The address had changed to 87 Westgate Street in the 1939 Kelly's. It closed in the nineteen seventies or eighties. Since closure it was left to slowly deteriorate and was held up by scaffolding for many years. Trees grew within the fabric of the building and the roof had collapsed. The facade of the old White Lamp, however, was still impressive. In July 2002 work finally started to renovate the building. The facade was retained in the development but this was probably rebuilt.

Gloucester Docks
Gloucester Docks, the most inland port in the country. The dock is locked from the River Severn and feeds at the other end into Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. The area is an almost complete example of a Victorian port with fifteen tall warehouses (all Listed) and other dock-related buildings which have found new uses.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester dock crane 12016 images
Restored, cleaned up and painted in maroon and white, this small dockside crane has a range of lettering in the casting:
the serpentine warning following the curves of the cast iron side, which is helpfully labelled 'LEFT' (not picked out in white) below the triangular aperture.
The circular feature has the following running round the outer ring:
We haven't, so far, confirmed the maker; however the Midland Railway had engineering works in Derby, so perhaps this was designed as a railside crane.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester dock crane 3
In the background is one of the many warehouses 'ALBERT WAREHOUSE' to the left and a modern replica to the right – both today converted for accommodation.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 3
Above left: to the right of the modern block is 'SHIPTON WAREHOUSE', the preserved Mariners Chapel, 'REYNOLDS WAREHOUSE', 'VININGS WAREHOUSE'. Above right: 'LOCK WAREHOUSE', beside the lock linking the dock to the River Severn. Narrow boats as well as leisure craft are moored in the marina.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 2   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 4
Above: 'VININGS WAREHOUSE' and 'ALEXANDRA WAREHOUSE' show that almost all the original lettering on the dockside structures has been repainted, sadly, but understandably. Whether old, weathered signs should be painted over is a moot point. In many cases, leaving the sign alone is the best way to save it (see the 'Edward Fison Ltd' sign on Ipswich New Cut which has become clearer with weathering over the years).
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 5
Above: the original 'LLANTHONY WAREHOUSE' sign in red characters has been joined by the new drop-shadow red caps of 'NATIONAL WATERWAYS MUSEUM'. See below under 'Mariners Ale' for an explanation of 'Llanthony'.
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 7
Below: the conversion of industrial to leisure/retail use is typified by this view of a preserved bridge between warehouses, one of which has the repainted '[MA]THEWS & CO LTD' sign. High Orchard Street, which has a restored pair of street nameplates with white capitals on black: 'HIGH ORCHARD' 'STREET' to the left, is now a pedestrian walk with shops and businesses on each side.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 102018 image
Below: a typical repurposed industrial building which bears the original date plaque: '1913'.
Perhaps the surrounding finish leaves something to be desired.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 10   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 11
2016 images
Below: the partially demolished warehouse shows the vestigial painted sign: 'GLOU[?] ... LTD[?]'; the parts have been preserved by the building of later pitched roof structures, now gone.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 12

G. & W.E. Downing, Maltster, Merchants Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltster 1
Thanks to scale model-maker, Peter Johnson, we can give the full decoding of this multi-layered, fugitive lettering:


[with a fading 'LONDON' below]
Peter's model relates to the R&W Paul's maltings near Stoke Bridge in Ipswich and can be found on our Trinity House buoy and St Peters Dock.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltser 1a   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltser 2
The panel at the very top reads:
‘– G AND WE –
– BUILT1895’ –
The '8' has the flattened top and the '5' is rather sloping.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltser 1b   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltser 3a
Above left: the Downing lettering in Merchants Road can be seen at centre left; the office entrance is at the far end of the building at centre right. The bridge between the two, here lettered 'ABM' , has now been removed. Associated British Maltsters (ABM MALT) must have bought the Downing business, perhaps with other steps in between. Following extensive modernisations of the malting process in the 1950s, in the 1970s the site began trading under the name Associated British Maltsters, a group that the Downing's business had joined back in 1931. Eventually, the business at Gloucester could no longer compete, and it closed down around 1980. The buildings were later used by West Midlands Farmers for grain storage.
Above right: the building with the office entrance and street nameplate (behind the lamp-post).
Below: a 'MERCHANTS ROAD' cast iron street nameplate in original, unrepainted condition. This is sited to the left of the office entrance shown below. Direct railway communication was provided by a siding from the Midland Railway running along Merchants Road.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester docks 7
'Maltsters George and William E. Downing from Smethwick in the West Midlands opened their first malthouse in Gloucester in 1876. As their business expanded, they built a second malthouse to the north of the original building in 1895. Designed by Walter B. Wood and built by the Gurney Brothers, it consisted of three ranges. The first two included a basement with a steeping tank in which barley was soaked usually for a couple of days and a working floor where the barley was allowed to germinate and sprout, a malt room where malt was stored and bagged, two more working floors, and an attic where barley was stored. The third range, to the north included a large malt kiln and a smaller barley kiln, where germination was inhibited. Part of this building was also used to clean and repair returned malt sacks. The absence of windows on the upper floors of the third range gave Downing ample space to advertise their business.'
[Information from:]

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltser 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Downing Maltser 4
BUILT … 1901’
The upper lettering curves and flows over a rather nice banner with the ends curling: a nice piece of carving. The letterforms are quite decorative to match.

British Waterways Board, dock drinking fountain

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Waterways Board 22018 images
The British Waterways Board was initially established as a result of the Transport Act, 1962 and took control of the inland waterways assets of the British Transport Commission in 1963. In 2012 all of British Waterways' assets and responsibilities in England and Wales were transferred to the newly founded charity the Canal & River Trust. In Scotland, British Waterways continues to operate as a standalone public corporation under the trading name Scottish Canals.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Waterways Board 1
Below: an unusual drinking fountain is located at the north gate of Gloucester Docks; it was installed by the Gloucester City Board of Health at the bequest of merchants on behalf of their workers in 1863. This water supply was also used to fill ships’ water casks. A stuccoed arch with bull nosed-moulding adhered to the brick wall serves as a mount for the cast iron drinking fountain consisting of two pieces. A cast iron back-plate with Romanesque arch has an inscription on the trough at street level. A small hydrant to the right is mounted off the ground. There is no visible tap or marking to identify the manufacturer of this structure. The fountain is Listed Grade II.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester drinking fountain 1
   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester drinking fountain 2
Below: the drinking fountain in front of ‘NORTH WAREHOUSE’.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester drinking fountain 3

Mariners Ale, 1 Llanthony Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Mariners Ale 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Mariners Ale 22020 image
in conjunction with
One assumes that this building curving off Southgate Street was once a social club or public house. So far we haven't been able to pin down whether this ale was brewed locally.
Incidentally, the street name comes from the Llanthony Secunda Priory, a house of Augustinian canons in the parish of Hempsted, Gloucestershire situated about half a mile south-west of Gloucester Castle in the City of Gloucester. It was founded in 1136.

The Goat Inn,
71-72 Llanthony Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Goat Inn 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Goat Inn 2
Thank goodness they included that huge square full-stop in relief and surrounded the whole thing in a triple frame to draw attention to it. The letterform could be described as 'vernacular'.

The Black Swan Hotel,
68 and 70 Southgate Street, corner with Commercial Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Black Swan 12018 images
 is lettered on the stone above ground florr level; painted boards used to cover this sign. Built in 1849-50, this building is Listed Grade II.
Ghost signs on either side of doorway on Southgate Street for some reason say:
It also features a locally familiar ‘West Country Ales, 1760, Best in the West’ ceramic sign. West Country Breweries Ltd, 256 High Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Registered 15th April 1888 as the Cheltenham Original Brewery Co. Ltd to acquire the business of J.T. Agg-Gardner founded in 1760. Name changed to Cheltenham & Hereford Breweries Ltd. 1945 when the Hereford & Tredegar Brewery Ltd. was acquired and was later renamed again to Cheltenham Brewery Holdings Ltd. Merged with the Stroud Brewery Co. Ltd. 1958 to form West Country Breweries Ltd. with 1,275 tied houses. Acquired by Whitbread & Co. Ltd. 1963 and was known as Whitbread Flowers Ltd. Closed 1998 and some buildings were demolished in 2004. The site around the original tower brewery building is now a modern shopping centre: ‘The Brewery Quarter’ between High Street and St Margarets Road, Cheltenham.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Black Swan 2

Dawes, House Decorator,
13 Park Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Dawes Decorator 1
is painted in serif'd capitals very high up on the side wall of the house. The second and third words are very condensed to fit the space.

G.A. Baker & Son, Jeweller
, 5 Southgate Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Baker Jeweller 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Baker Jeweller 2
"The Mann family has been retailing on the Cross in Gloucester since 1741. For over 250 years and 8 generations the family supplied jewellery and time pieces to the county and in 1901 became watchmakers to the Admiralty. In 1862, the then owner, William Mann was appointed Sheriff of the city of Gloucester. The iconic G. A. Baker building in Southgate Street with its original and unique Turret Clock is the Head Office of the Cotswold Fine Jewellery Group." Automaton clock: the figures striking the quarter hours and the chimes represent the constituent countries of the United Kingdom; left to right: Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. In the centre is Old Father Time, who strikes the hours.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Baker Jeweller 4

Powell, Lane Manufacturing Company, Severn Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Powell Lane 1
2021 image courtesy Louisa Gaylard Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Powell Lane 1a

The latter sign, yellow caps on a blue panel, presumably directs fuel delivery drivers to the first floor loading door – one assumes that the paper manufacturers used machinery powered by a steam engine.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Powell Lane 22018 images
Moving down to the gable end of the third building on this site, we can make out that the Powell, Lane company traded from all of them.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Powell Lane 3
Grace's Guide (see Links) shows a period advertisement for the company which locates the works at 'Severn Side Wharf': 'Manufacturers of PAPER SHAVING, Corrugated and Wave Embossed Parchments and Paper Requisites for Biscuits and Confectionery Packings, WAXED PAPERS.' A London office is shown at Blackfriars House, New Bridge Street, E.C.4; this may just have been the registered office.
Albert E. Reed & Co. (established 1894) began, in
1928, to supply straw paper to Powell, Lane Manufacturing Co. of Gloucester to make corrugated paper.  In 1930 Reed acquired the factory that Powell Lane had established at Tovil Mill in Kent and formed the Medway Corrugated Paper Co. and established a case-making plant next to the mill at Aylesford. By 1944 Reed's had acquired Powell, Lane Manufacturing Co. Remarkably, the parent company evolved into Reed Paper Group, later the massive Reed International publishing and information businesses.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Powell Lane 4
The gable sign is, to say the least, fugitive. At the top, the curving lettering 'POLWELL LANE' can be made out; the word 'MA -nufacturing' disappears behind a blue metal sign advertising a more recent antiques business. Lower still is a white cartouche outlined in black bearing, we think, 'F CE...'. A white rectangle at the left probably once bore a sign (now unreadable) and the lower part has the words in condensed large-and-small-capitals: 'HOUSE & STEA...[?]', now obscured by a downpipe and cut into by the door lintel.

Talbots Bottlers, Ladybellegate Street

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Talbots Bottlers 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Talbots Bottlers 22016 images
This sign of white characters on a green ground is on the crumbling rendering close to the junction of Ladybellegate Street and Commercial Road. Thomas Talbot (1819-1891) founded the Talbot Mineral Water Company in 1845. The firm had premises in Ladybellegate Street from at least 1867 and occupied some of the buildings of the former Blackfriars monastery (note the top of a Gothic stone arch, above right) and built some new structures along Commercial Road. In 1873 the firm also had premises at 48 Northgate Street. It later became Talbot Bottlers (Gloucester) Limited. Apart from mineral water, the firm produced seltzer water, potass water, lemonade, soda water, ginger ale, magnesia water, aerated lime juice, lithia water (with lithium salts), quinine tonic water and orange champagne. Later they began to bottle alcoholic drinks, including beer and cider for Bass and Worthington. In 1886, Talbot was elected high sheriff of Gloucester and later became an alderman of the city.
Oddly, the same company name and type of trade once thrived in Ipswich: the unrelated Messers Talbot and Co. Ltd., Mineral Water Manufacturers. Our Unicorn Brewery page gives much more information.

Public Library, Brunswick Road

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Library 12018 images
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Library 2
First called the Schools of Science and Art, the original part of the building was designed by local architects Fulljames, Waller & Son in 1872 for the Gloucester Science and Art Society which was mainly funded by subscribers. It also housed a museum of Literature and Science. There were several failed attempts to run a free public library at the Working Men's Institute and a survey from 1887 shows that taxpayers voted against having a free public library. In 1893, the building was extended with a hall built for the Gloucester Science and Art Society called the Price Memorial Hall. The city corporation brought the book collection of the Gloucester Literary and Scientific Association in 1895 and took over the buildings and running of the school and museum in 1896. In 1897 a free library service was started. The building was extended to the south in 1900 to house the new library, which was built to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and designed by F.W Waller. In 1902, the Price Memorial Hall was converted to be used as part of the museum which became The Museum of Gloucester. The Neo-Gothic building is Listed Grade II.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Library 3

Monument House, St Marys Square
The name runs over the decorative porch. This fine town house, dates to around 1770, but may incorporate an earlier structure. It has three stroreys, a cellar and attic rooms. and is Listed Grade II. The Listing text goes to town in relation to the entrance: 'In the third bay from the left a narrow, recessed entrance porch with basket arch is framed by stone pilasters and an applied, Gothick style, crocketted ogee arch with a foliated finial above; framing the top of the arch and finial a stepped cornice on brackets arched in the centre above the finial; inside the porch five stone steps to the doorway threshold, six-panel door with the four, fielded, upper panels and basket-arched fanlight with radiating glazing bars.'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Monument House 1   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Monument House 2
Above: the fine rake of buildings on the east side of St Marys Square. To the rightof Monument House is the ancient St Mary's Gate which is Listed Grade I. This was originally built in the late 12th century (and refronted and heightened in early 13th century) for the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter as the Great Gate to the Outer Court of the monastery, now part of College Green. It was altered in the 18th century and was restored in late 19th by F.S. Waller for the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral. The gate passage leads from St Marys Square into the north-west corner of College Green. Although not visible in the above photograph, the cathedral lies not far behind Monument House and the gateway.

Shop '1450',
66 Westgate Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester 1450 shop
The panels at the top of the gables read:
'1450'    '2009'
The facade is jettied above the ground level 19th century shop front; then again above the first floor level. Thae gables have nicely painted barge boards. This timber-framed, 15th century merchant's house is Listed Grade II*.

Boselli's Ice Cream, on the side wall of 58 St Oswalds Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Boselli's Ice Cream 1
2020 images
58 & 60 PRIORY RD.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Boselli's Ice Cream 2
Ice cream manufacture and sale in Britain was greatly associated with Italian immigrant makers (for example, Gatti, Carpigiani, Rossi and, in Gloucester, Tartaglia). Swiss émigré Carlo Gatti set up the first gelato stand outside London's Charing Cross station in 1851. The brand names had an exotic ring to them. It is probably the reason Mr John Kilyan who founded this ice cream company in Gloucester, named it after his wife's family: Maria Kilyan neé Boselli. The company ceased trading in 1989. Priory Road, mentioned in the sign, is nearby but it would make sense to advertise on a main thoroughfare, St Oswalds Road. Presumably the owners of the house were paid, unless Mr Kilyan was himself the owner, of course.
[UPDATE 11.8.2021: 'The building carrying this sign is actually 58 Priory Road.  This section of Priory Road was incorporated into the new St Oswalds Road in 1933 when it formed part of the northern ring road but the house still retained the old address. Mystery solved! The company was formed by a Pole in about 1962 but named after his Italian wife because it sounded more authentic.  It was sold on in 1973 and ceased trading in 1989. Mike Payne Thanks to Mike for the information.]

Co-operative shop, 9-11 Stroud Road
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Co-op 1
‘NO. 4
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Co-op 2
The larger chracters in white are attached to the redbrick wall, running into a palladian triangle at the top of the facade. They are composed of jigsaw-like sections, also seen on the 'R&W Paul' sign on the concrete silo near to Stoke Bridge in Ipswich. The decorative square tablet below is worthy of attention: the condensed Roman capitals, with superior 'TD' in Art Deco framing have great style – all composed of thirteen tiled components.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Co-op 3

Guildhall, 23 Eastgate Street
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Gloucester Guildhall
The Grade II Listed building, which was designed by George H. Hunt in the French Renaissance style, was completed in 1892.

There'sa lot more lettering to find in the city; in fact, there's book full of them: Fading ads of Gloucester by Chris West, published by History Press, 2014.

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